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Metadata is structured information describing the characteristics of a resource; for example, the dates associated with a dataset or the title and author of a book.
Discovery (i.e. the findability and citability) of your data
Re-use of other researchers of your data in pursuit of knowledge
Long-term preservation of resources.
In order for your data to be used properly by you, your colleagues, and other researchers in the future, they must be documented. Planning what metadata will be captured and how this data will be structured should occur at the beginning of a research project, before data collection begins. Doing so will make automation of metadata creation easier and reduce the need for time-consuming metadata capture or restructuring later in the lifecycle of the research project.